Eating disorders more common in boys than thought

Body image issues and eating disorders are assumed to mostly affect women; however, a new study reveals eating disorders are more prevalent in the male population than previously thought.

The research by doctors at Boston Children's Hospital and published in _JAMA Pediatrics, _found that 17.9 percent of adolescent boys were extremely worried about their weight and physique. This concern was linked to a higher rate of risky behavior, such as drug use and binge drinking.

From 1999 to 2010, researchers had 5,527 teenage males complete questionnaires as part of the Growing Up Today Study every 12 to 36 months. Overall, boys are more concerned about muscularity than being thin: 9.2 percent had high concerns over muscularity, 2.5 percent were concerned about thinness, and 6.3 percent were concerned about both.

Some males who were worried about their muscularity used possible unhealthy supplements, such as growth hormone and steroids. These males were twice as likely to binge drink and use drugs as their peers. Boys worried about being thin were more likely to develop symptoms of depression.

In total, 2.9 percent of all participants had some binge-eating disorder habits, and nearly one-third had infrequent binge eating, purging or overeating.

The study results may help shed light on how to better address boys’ physical perceptions.

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Sourced from: sciencedaily.com, Eating Disorders More Common in Males Than Realized